It’s always a beautiful day for baseball: Snow doesn’t stop dedication of Jeff DeCamp Field

WNLP photos by Bob Wellinski  

LaPorte Slicer baseball player Jeff DeCamp died of cancer in 2013 at the age of 42. His friends formed the DeCamp’s Band of Brothers Foundation in 2014 to honor their

Jeff DeCamp

longtime friend. Jeff loved and played all sports and was on the 1987 LaPorte High School baseball team that won the Indiana State Championship. He made lifelong friends through sports and learned valuable life lessons through his participation. It is this passion for sports, love for kids and amazing capacity to help others that the foundation wants to perpetuate in Jeff’s name.

DeCamp’s Band of Brothers partnered with the LaPorte Park and Recreation Department and LaPorte Park Foundation to raise $170,000 to renovate the aged park that at one time was “a hub of community activity.” Located on the city’s south side, the six-acre park, bordered by Norris Street, Martin Street, Greenway Street and Farrand Avenue, was donated to the city by the Clarke family in the 1930s.

Jeff DeCamp Field was finally officially dedicated April 27, 2019, at Clarke Park. The field will be the LaPorte Slicers JV home field, and other games will be played there, too. The LaPorte Wreckers played on opening day.

The baseball field was regraded, a grass infield with irrigation was constructed and fencing was installed. Dugouts, bullpens and ADA-compliant spectator areas are in place.

The second phase, to be done later this year or in early 2020, includes replacing and relocating the playground to the east side of the park. Future additions may include a picnic shelter, basketball court and off-street parking.

For more information on this project, contact Mark Schreiber at 219-326-9600 or mschreiber@cityoflaportein.gov, or Mike Riehle at 219-575-2038 or riehles@comcast.net. Visit TeamDeCamp on Facebook.

Mark Schreiber opens the dedication ceremony as he introduces Band of Brothers members Mike Riehle (center) and Darrin Brooks.

Mike Riehle speaking to the crowd as Darrin Brooks listens.

Darrin Brooks speaks to the crowd.

The new backdrop and side fencing.

Jennifer Drewry, Jeff DeCamp’s sister, walks grandmother Lois Dawson out onto the field. DeCamp’s jersey number 3 is seen on the scoreboard.

DeCamp’s mom, Barb, hugs Mike Riehle.

Barb DeCamp speaks during the dedication.

Unveiling of the new sign.

Lois Dawson, DeCamp’s grandmother, throws out the first pitch.

Barb DeCamp along with sister Jennifer Drewry and his niece, Violet, throw out the additional first pitches.

DeCamp family members and Band of Brothers Foundation members pose with the new sign renaming the newly renovated field.

LaPorte Wreckers 14U members watch the ceremony.

LaPorte Wreckers 14U members warm up as Jeff DeCamp’s jersey number (3) fills the scoreboard.

LaPorte Wreckers 14U’s pitcher delivers.

The next phase will include new dugouts.

3 Responses to “It’s always a beautiful day for baseball: Snow doesn’t stop dedication of Jeff DeCamp Field”

  1. Kathy T

    Apr 29. 2019

    It’s amazing to see Jeff’s 90 year old grandmother throw out the first pitch. This field is such a great way to honor and continue Jeff DeCamp’s memory.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Rob

    Apr 29. 2019

    Great photos, Bob.

    Was a nice ceremony remembering an upstanding individual in Jeff DeCamp.

    I watched them win it in ’87, which they also won the National Championship too, and I watched the ceremony at Clarke Park.
    Both gave me goosebumps and brought back some nostalgia of the Schreiber years.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Rev. Ron Brauer

    Apr 29. 2019

    Thank you for this wonderful report of how our community banded together to honor Jeff DeCamp as well as to provide a fitting place to continue the sport he played. It is a tribute to La Porte on how people work together to accomplish this.
    A big “Shout–Out” goes to all those who organized, contributed, supported, and worked on making this possible. As there is still some additional work to be done, I know that in good time this field will serve many teams and support many games in the future.

    Reply to this comment

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